So the first thing I do when I am bringing outdoor plants indoors is to stop watering them up to a week in advance – depending on the pot size. This helps when lugging in those giant 24″ pots full of dirt and green beauty. They can really weigh a lot! Next you want to make sure you spray off the plants to get rid of hitchhikers. Finally, you need a place to put all your babies! It might be good for me to mention, you always want to stop feeding your plants before fall arrives, October at the latest. At least for my zone 6B, there isn’t enough sun and warmth to keep them in a growing state.
I consider myself a lucky plant lady cause I have a greenhouse. This allows me to keep a whole bunch of plants I wouldn’t or couldn’t normally keep in the house. Also, it lets me have the luxury of watering with abandon! Let that hose shoot across the room and up in that plant hanging from the rafters! That is also handy for spraying the cats who find my plants an irresistible feast. Blast them with the hose a couple times and all you have to do is hold the hose next time and they scatter!
When I’m bringing outdoor plants indoors the greenhouse always fills up way too fast. There are always decisions to be made and not everyone makes the cut. Some have a lifetime membership, as this braided hibiscus below. She and her sister have the most beautiful coral colored blooms that take me away to Hawaii every time I see them.
I found this fertilizer especially for hibiscus last summer and I think it combined with my new automatic watering system made all the difference in the world. I’m using HibisGain made by BGI. Just look at all that lush green! I did a lot of whacking on this plant before hand to get it down to this size so it would fit in here! I need to re-pot it again because it’s so top heavy. I cut off at least a 1/3 of the length of the branches off, sadly including blooms 🙁 .
Other plants that always make the cut are your typical houseplants. Like the large leafed bird of paradise in the back there (below) and the corn plants (also below). Of course my philodendrons including the giant old one that was passed down to me by my mom.
That gorgeous purple standout plant in the photo below is an Alternanthera, I cannot remember the variety, but it was a lower shrubbier type and I just love it. I’ve had a long lasting love affair going with dark foliage plants for as long as I can remember. As long as it gets enough sun and water and I can keep the mealy bugs at bay, I’ll have that for years to come.
After the mad dash to get everybody inside the greenhouse, you know because summer kept going until October 12th in my area this year! I had hopes that it was just going to stick around forever, but sadly as I sit here in a flannel shirt, that was not the case.
I tend to procrastinate so I was still pulling plants in by flashlight that night. Which brings me to another point. For the better of the plants, you really should bring them in before it gets too cold even if they can tolerate the cold. It’s better to bring them in and let them acclimate to your indoor conditions that are closer to what you keep your house temperature.
You want as less stress on the plant as possible. As a rule of thumb, I try to bring mine in when the nighttime temps are 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. A lot of plants will drop their leaves if brought in and there are wild temperature swings, think ficus (they want to be in one spot and left alone). If you’re comfortable in your house, then chances are most houseplants are too.
Good Growing Conditions. (or at least marginally)
See the green cloth at the back of the greenhouse ceiling in the above photo? That is a shade cloth. Even though it’s going to be winter and the sun is getting lower and lower, the sun can still burn your plants if they’re a shade loving plant like a lot of houseplants are.
If you’ve followed my blog or my Garden Facebook Page, then you might know I usually put my ferns directly under that shade cloth. Ferns typically are under-story plants. They like the shade. Unless you have a roof that provides shade like a sunroom would have, you’ll want to keep certain plants in a darker area.
Of course if you are doing like I am this year and hanging those beauties inside your home to enjoy, you’ll want to find an east facing window or hang them far enough back to not get direct southern sun exposure. I thought about hanging two in front of this east facing window and having a green curtain made of fronds…. but I decided against it. Instead, I have a nice big fern in my living room, dining room and my kitchen. Yay!
We have a whole house humidifier and that really helps keep the plants from drying out so quickly. If you do not though, my best advice is to buy yourself a humidifier. Your plants will thank you. You can also provide a little humidity with a saucer of pebbles with water. Ideally, you’d put your plant on top of this saucer of pebbles, but make sure your pot is not ever sitting in water.
Another tip: Buy a little drain hair catcher for your tub and pull each plant in for a spa day when they need to be watered. The hair catcher will catch all the leaves that will inevitably fall off. Give them a good shower and in the case of these ferns, I keep a large bucket for dunking. Yep. I just dunk the entire pot down in a bucket full of tepid water until all the air bubbles escape. Let it hang out in the tub for about 30 minutes to drain the excess water out. This works especially well for the ferns and asparagus fern, which is notorious for drying out and turning into a crispy hair grabbing, skin scratching torture device.
Some plants want to be on the drier side. I happen to love geraniums, and they do really well in the greenhouse. They like to be on the dry side. I’ve also grown them in a south facing window as they can take the sun. Corn plants are another plant that doesn’t need much water in the fall and winter. They grow fine inside a house with bright indirect light. We really don’t want our plants to do a lot of growing during their winter vacation time in the house or greenhouse because there just isn’t enough sunlight for them to be thick and lush. Any branches or stalks they grow during this time tends to be spindly, reaching for light.
Some people never take their plants outside for a summer vacay and that is fine. In fact the plants above all stay inside all year. They do really well here. There is a snake plant (sansevieria) growing up by the couch and the other two are heart-leaf philodendron “Brazil”.
All except a few in the photo below are relatively happy in my east facing window here in my kitchen. The fern was brought in as I mentioned earlier and so was the majesty palm. If I didn’t enjoy my couch so much in my kitchen, that south facing wall would be full of plants. It used to be when I first moved in here.
I cropped it out for this photo, but I do have a corn plant in the east window, you can see the stalk in the bottom left of the photo below. It really would’ve benefited from being outside for the summer. It’s kinda gangling. I just never took it out. Here’s a quick tip for corn plants. They are monocots (like real corn) and they love rain water! Save your rain water if you’re able to and let it warm up to room temperature and use it to water your corn plants. Really, all plants love it but corn plants (any Dracaena) really benefit from it. Maybe it’s the nitrogen in the rain that does it.
Here’s a dark little area in my dining room. It’s the only window in there so of course I have plants in it but I’ve found I can’t keep everything growing good here. Although it’s a west facing window, there is a tree with its extending branches covering some of the window but the main culprit is a roof over part of our deck which makes the deck super nice to enjoy in the rain. The roof casts a shadow most of the year on this window. Oh well, trade offs. It’s a lifesaver in the summer, it cools the deck and our kitchen considerably.
This year I’m trying a little brake fern (on the table). Usually, this guy is in the greenhouse but I thought I’d try to keep him here. I just love his funky fronds. Besides if he starts looking shabby, back in the greenhouse he goes or maybe a brighter area like the kitchen.
Don’t be afraid to try plants in different areas. Keep a close eye on them and if they start to decline that’s a sign to move them to a better area more suitable to their needs.
You can’t see it very well in the photo above, but while I was snapping shots and admiring my handiwork of hanging my fern I noticed I had a little Peeping Tom!
Okay, so he’s pretty cute but that little tree rat has done all kinds of damage to my plants. Houseplants or just bedding plants. He thinks it’s his right to get in the pot and dig out the roots. Or he might decide he’ll munch on whatever I’ve planted to ground! I do enjoy watching his cute antics, but when I see him in my plants it’s on! I let Zoey out and she runs him off. She’s such a good girl and she HATES that squirrel.
I hope I’ve helped you some when it comes to bringing outdoor plants indoors. It’s that time, or really even past for some. I saw many friends had snow last night! What?!! It’s not even Halloween yet! Luckily, I don’t remember a snow around here for Halloween but there has been some cold ones.
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Who am I? I’m just a crazy plant obsessed artist. I have an art studio in my home (my paintings and prints are for sale here on this site) with a greenhouse attached to it. Studio Gardens is what I call the outside area in front of my art studio. Want to see some outside gardens? Click here for some photo tours.
Do you happen to like plants as much as I do? How about paintings of plants?! Ha ha! Well I’ve got you covered there too! Here’s a quick bio of me below.
Learn more about me on the ‘About’ page in the menu at the top. I’m an artist – a painter mostly and an avid gardener. I paint a variety of subjects including birds, koi fish, my gardens, ponds and flowers as well as anything having to do with nature especially trees and tropical scenes. I also enjoy painting abstracts and have started created more and more of them. My most favorite thing to try to achieve in my painting is is mystery.
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